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Kekkilä-BVB increases the amount of wood fibre in growing media through cooperation with UPM

November 22, 2023

Kekkilä-BVB and UPM have signed a letter of intent on the basis of which UPM would deliver wood fibre to Kekkilä-BVB. Wood fibre can be used in growing media suitable for professional growing and home gardening to replace peat-based raw materials. The cooperation is an important step towards increasing the proportion of renewable raw materials in its growing media products.

Kekkilä-BVB consumes approx. 6 million cubic metres of various materials for growing media annually. In 2022, the proportion of circular and renewable raw materials was approx. 1 million cubic metres. Kekkilä-BVB aims to double the volume of circular and renewable raw materials by 2027. 

“The wood fibre procured from UPM will be used as a raw material for the growing media suitable for mainly professional growing manufactured in Kekkilä-BVB’s factories in Finland, Estonia and Sweden. The products are mainly exported to different parts of the world. The goal is to expand the use of Finnish clean wood fibre also to Kekkilä-BVB’s factories in Central Europe and to the export markets of these factories”, says Päivi Martikainen, Project Director for Innovations at Kekkilä-BVB.

UPM’s and Kekkilä-BVB’s letter of intent encompasses approx. 50,000 cubic metres of wood fibre annually. Globally, the volume of wood fibre as a growing medium is expected to increase from the current volume of three million cubic metres to 30 million cubic metres.

“Wood is a versatile and renewable material for which we envisage an almost unlimited number of end uses that are compatible with sustainable development”, says Mikko Lassila, Business Development Director at UPM Technology.

“The cooperation now launched is of a small-scale but is important, because it bears witness to yet another successful innovation and cooperation. We regard it as especially important that we can offer a safe raw material as a growing medium for food production”, says Lassila.

“Both for us and for UPM, responsibility is at the core of our strategy. Thus, we are very pleased to have found a local partner, who aims to utilise wood fibre as sustainably as possible, and thereby to respond to the expectations of consumers but also those of the legislation,” says Martikainen.

The worldwide annual market for growing media is approximately 70 million cubic metres, of which growing peat constitutes just under half. The demand for growing media is expected to triple by 2050. The volume of peat is expected to remain the same, but the proportion of renewable materials is expected to grow significantly.

“The main reasons for the increased demand for growing media are the large demand for food that has been grown locally for the consumer, as well as the climate-change-related need to move from open fields to greenhouses. Greenhouse cultivation saves water, decreases the need for fertilisation and offers protection from weather-related damage,” says Martikainen.

Kekkilä-BVB exports growing media products to over 100 countries worldwide.

More information:

  • Päivi Martikainen, Project Director, Innovations, Kekkilä-BVB, tel. +358 40 518 1587
  • Mikko Lassila, Business Development Director, UPM Technology, tel. +358 50 379 7720